As you polish off your last gulp of a beverage and spot a recycling bin nearby, you may find yourself joyously slam dunking that plastic bottle into it. You think you’re an absolute success, synchronizing hydration and saving the planet in one fell swoop, but sadly you’ve just done something terribly wrong.
If the plastic bottle hasn’t been washed out or the cap is still on, it disrupts the single stream recycling process, Anna Thorne, the environmental center’s media and communications manager, says.
Fluids from leftover beverages contaminate the batches arriving at the recycling center, and employees sorting through the salvaged material don’t have time to remove caps let alone clean each item, Thorne says.
Here are the do’s and don’ts to follow when tossing your garbage into those gorgeous blue bins, Thorne says.
DO recycle paper, paperboard such as egg crates, cardboard, plastics one through seven, and aluminum.
DON’T recycle paper with heavy ink or paper towels.
DO clean and dry all recyclables.
DON’T put pizza boxes in the the recycle bin, the grease cannot be cleaned off the box.
DO recycle the coffee cup lid.
DON’T recycle the paper coffee cup, the wax lining inside is non-recyclable.
DO recycle aluminum foil.
DON’T recycle styrofoam.
DO recycle glass, drop it off at the recycling center for free or request a bin from Table to Farm, a company that also picks up compost!
DON’T include glass, batteries and electronics with single stream recycling.
DO take your grocery bags to your supermarket, many of them have collection bins.
DON’T recycle grocery bags or other thin plastics, such as wrappers, straws and plastic wrap, these are not made of recyclable material.
DO crush your recycled materials if you can so they take up less space.
DON’T put your recyclables in a garbage bag.
The Durango Recycling Center also accepts batteries and electronics outside of single stream, and referring their website will help with correct disposal of all non-perishable items, Thorne says.
If you’re uncertain if you’re about to sabotage a batch of reusable rubbish, stop into the FLC environmental center and ask a staff member. They can ensure the correct path for your trash, Thorne says.